The Facebook Totalitarians and Brett Kavanaugh

Joel Kaplan has a close friend.

Recently that friend was going through a difficult moment in his life, and like the good friend he is, Joel Kaplan went to stand by his friend’s side.

The friend is Judge Brett Kavanaugh. And Mr. Kaplan, fellow Bush 43 alum with Judge Kavanaugh (Kaplan served as deputy White House chief of staff), quietly took a personal day from his job and sat behind his friend as the latter testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Inevitably Kaplan was seen in television shots - and all professional hell broke loose in Joel Kaplan’s life.

You see, in his day job Kaplan is Facebook’s vice president for global public policy. And in the world of Facebook employees - progressives but of course - support for Kavanaugh from a Facebook colleague is verboten. 

The New York Times headlined the story this way: “Rifts Break Open at Facebook Over Kavanaugh Hearing.”

The story says, in part, this: 

“SAN FRANCISCO — “I want to apologize,” the Facebook executive wrote last Friday in a note to staff. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally.”

The apology came from Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy. A day earlier, Mr. Kaplan had sat behind his friend, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, when the judge testified in Congress about allegations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Mr. Kaplan’s surprise appearance prompted anger and shock among many Facebook employees, some of whom said they took his action as a tacit show of support for Judge Kavanaugh — as if it were an endorsement from Facebook itself.

The unrest quickly spilled over onto Facebook’s internal message boards, where hundreds of workers have since posted about their concerns, according to current and former employees. To quell the hubbub, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, last Friday explained in a widely attended staff meeting that Mr. Kaplan was a close friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s and had broken no company rules, these people said.

Yet the disquiet within the company has not subsided. This week, Facebook employees kept flooding internal forums with comments about Mr. Kaplan’s appearance at the hearing. 

….Mr. Kaplan’s show of support for Judge Kavanaugh hits a particularly sensitive spot for Facebook. It has been weathering claims from conservatives and Mr. Trump that Facebook is biased against right-wing websites and opinions. The company has denied this, saying it is a neutral platform that welcomes all perspectives. By showing up at Judge Kavanaugh’s side, Mr. Kaplan essentially appeared to choose a political side that goes against the views of Facebook’s largely liberal work force.”

In other words, the ugly totalitarian bullying that is a trademark of the American Left is in fact alive and well inside Facebook.

Recall that back in April of this year, Facebook’s founder Mr. Zuckerberg appeared in front of the U.S. Senate and the subject of Facebook’s alleged bias against conservatives was Topic A. The Washington Times headlined it this way: “Silicon Valley an 'extremely left-leaning place,' admits Zuckerberg.”

The Times zeroed in on the back-and-forth between Zuckerberg and Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz. The story reported:

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Silicon Valley is an ‘extremely left-leaning place’ but said he tries to make sure his firm doesn’t “have bias in the work that we do.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, questioned the social-media mogul about a long-running concern conservatives have that Facebook and other Silicon Valley tech firms have a clear bias against users on the right side of the political spectrum.

‘A great many Americans are deeply concerned Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,’ Mr. Cruz said.”

Zuckerberg, while admitting to Silicon Valley’s extreme left-leaning politics insisted that Facebook was in fact “a platform for all ideas.”

This latest furor over Joel Kaplan puts the lie to that claim. The real truth is that a Facebook employee, on his own personal time, cannot even sit quietly behind a friend in trouble at a Senate hearing without the Animal Farm mentality of Facebook totalitarians calling down all kinds of abuse on his head. Recall that George Orwell’s famous satire of Communism had one “commandment” for the animals of Animal Farm, which read this way: “All Animals are Equal.
But Some Animals are More Equal Than Others.”

In the land of Facebook, the treatment of Joel Kaplan illustrates the vivid reality that might be phrased this way: “All Facebook Employees are Equal. But Some Facebook Employees are More Equal Than Others.”

Which is to say, if you are a conservative at Facebook, you are subject to vividly open viewpoint discrimination if not worse. The message: stay silent - or else.

Recall as well all those progressives who rushed to the defense of football’s Colin Kapernick and others for kneeling on the job when the national anthem is played at the start of NFL games. Curiously they went silent when Google fired James Damore, who had the temerity to circulate a memo disagreeing with Google progressive colleagues about the company’s “gender diversity” approach. Now these same supposed free speech boosters are silent at the instant and vicious attacks by Facebook colleagues on Joel Kaplan for simply and quietly sitting behind a friend - on his own personal time.

What is unfolding this moment at Facebook is a seriously troubling sign of the totalitarian nature of the Left. Whatever Judge Kavanaugh’s fate, this very, very serious problem is going to go on - and on - well beyond the borders of Facebook. This is, as, South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham accurately summed it up in his passionate remarks addressing Senate Democrats over their treatment of the Judge, all about one thing - power. “Boy, you all want power,” Graham stated furiously as he looked his Democrat colleagues in the eye, adding: “God, I hope you never get it.”

It could be the Senate Judiciary Committee, it could be Facebook. Or Google. Or a college campus. Or a campaign to remove this or that conservative from television or radio. It can appear in any of a limitless other number of places where progressives hold sway or are trying to. At bottom Americans are seeing the same thing over and over and over again.  

That same thing is the vivid display of a totalitarian mindset.

What is happening to Joel Kaplan at Facebook isn’t just disgraceful. It is frightening. The question now is whether Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg will do anything about it.

 


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